OverviewAlthough the Salbitschjen is probably the most visited mountain of rock climbers in central Switzerland, it can hardly be seen from other peaks. It is surrounded by many higher and more impressive mountains like Dammastock, Fleckistoch, Sustenhorn etc. No wonder, that hikers do not climb it, therefore I will not talk about a "normal route", although the descent is easy and could be considered as "normal". But you will hardly see anybody who chooses that route to climb Salbitschjen.
I do not know of any rock climber, who is not enthusiastic about this mountain. No glacier impedes its access, its granite is of highest quality and there are a variety of difficulties. Easiest is the east ridge (IV), which is a good starter. Very difficult are its 5 towers on the west ridge (VII), each of which offers several difficult routes. However, most people are attracted by the south ridge (V). Indeed, you can climb it over and over again and it will never bore you. It is a classical. Whenever a friend of mine asked me to rock climb I invited him (and very often her) to this ridge. This ridge has one extraordinary advantage: if it is deemed to be too difficult for a partner, you can always quit, rappel to the west or change to the Hug-Kurz route (III) and still reach the summit.
Another nice feature of this mountain is its mild climate. After a summerly snowfall, it takes one day of sunshine, and the rock is warm and cozy, and the sun manages to dry the rock in one hour after a rainfall. Very often we have chosen sunny days in October or even November, when no crowd bothered the ridge and the Salbit hut was empty.
There are two huts available for this mountain. For all climbs use the Salbithütte (2105 m), except for the west ridge take the Salbit bivouac (ca. 2400 m)
No parking fees, no road toll, but get insured for rescue!
Link for books and maps:
Literature and Maps
Clubführer Urner Alpen WEST, edited by the Swiss Alpine Club
Map: Nr. 1211 Meiental 1:25'000
Map Nr. 5001 Gotthard 1:50'000
See the Swisstopo Map with many interesting features. Upload is in a seperate window.
AccommodationSalbit hut 2105 m, 60 places. Owner: Swiss Alpine Club. (683.050/170.025) Phone info: ++41(0)41 887 00 60
Take the train to Göschenen (northern station of the Gotthard railroad and automobile tunnel), walk 1 mile into the Göschener valley as far as Abfrutt (1195 m). You can park the car here, no fees. The cable car that goes half way up to the Salbit hut and is for cargo only; you can phone and let your rucksack (especially skis in spring!) transport up to 1680 m. The path to the hut is well marked and easy to find. This hut is suited for all Salbitschijen climbs, except for the west ridge. In spring it is a starting point for the Rorspitzli (3220 m) with descent to Meien (1300 m). 3 hours. Hiking path.
Salbit bivouac 2402 m, (683.030/170.030) 12 persons, no water (luckily some snow), blankets, nothing else. Phone info: ++41(0)41 820 05 68.
Take the car or bus (reservation ++41(0)41 885 11 80 from Göschenen as far as the entry of the Voralp valley. Follow the path to the Voralp hut. At Alp Horefelli ( 1786 m) turn east and follow the marked path north of Spicherribikehle. Climb the saddle at point 2202 m. Then go back to the huge couloir, climb 100 m, and turn south, reach a saddle at 2300 m. 100 m higher at the foot of tower I of the west ridge is the bivouac. II, III. 4 hours from bus station Voralp.
The bivouac can also be reached from the Salbit hut over the Zahnscharte (2710 m) of the Salbit south ridge. From the saddle go down and keep always somewhat to the right. You can see now all 5 towers, Tower I, where the hut is, is the lowest. Rappel.
Getting to the TopSalbit South Ridge (most popular route)
Follow the horizontal path from the Salbit hut in direction to the south ridge, which can be seen in its full length. The ridge consists of several towers, choose the saddle below the leftist tower. First you walk over grass, nearing the saddle you will have a climb of grade III. Ca. 2600 m. 2 hours from the hut.
The first tower is the Salbitzahn 2728 m. It shows the first difficulty of grade IV. Then rappel to the Zahnscharte (2705 m). If you want to discontinue, you can either rappel to the Salbit hut side (ca. 60 m) or chose the easier Hug-Kurz route on the west side. The next tower is circumvented on its west side. Climbing back to the ridge, you will be confronted by a flat wall that leads to next tower (Plattenturm). At the end of this wall you must climb back (left) to the ridge. This lofty part is the most difficult of the south ridge. From the Plattenturm rappel to the next saddle, where you may join once more the easier Hug-Kurz route. On the ridge comes the next tower: Zwillingsturm. After this it is an easy climb to the summit, where a solid granite needle of 15 m height awaits you for the finale. Grade 5, 5-8 hours from the Salbit hut.
Grade V. Rope. No special climbing gear is needed. Rappel.
Plattenturm and Zwillingsturm show very difficult east faces.
Descent leads down the north flank, on the snow field turn right and head to a saddle that starts a stony couloir which leads gradually back to the Salbit hut. Easy,